Thursday, December 6, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 6 Dec 2007

From MNF-I, Soldiers Discover Weapons Cache Hidden in Haystack.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER — Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment uncovered a weapons cache, Dec. 1, in Al Ja’ara while delivering kerosene to local citizens.

According to 1st Lt. Matt Barwick, from Lanham, Md., fire support officer for Co. B, Soldiers were delivering 15,000 liters of kerosene to the village sheik. While conducting the transfer they received information regarding the location of a possible weapons cache.

“We went to the location and there was a stack of hay about six or seven feet high,” he said. “Four Soldiers started digging.”

Barwick said Pfc. Mark Hayes, from Louisville, Ky., Pvt. Phillip Crum, from Miami, Spc. Mishael Francois, from Trinidad, Africa, and Pfc. Steven Moya, from Redding, Pa., dug through the entire pile of hay to discover two 75 mm rockets, 17 grenades, 2 mortars, 10 pounds of a stripped propellant, and one two-liter bottle of explosive material.

“Finding this cache is a message to extremists in this area. They are not safe and they can’t hide weapons. We will find them. This also severely disrupts extremist operations in Al Ja’ara,” Barwick said.

Francois said he had an overwhelming feeling come over him when, after digging through the haystack, he touched objects that were not supposed to be there.

“It’s a rush,” Francois said. “I felt like this is what we need to get more information. This is what we need to put these criminals away. We got ‘em! I felt like we were doing the right thing.”

Although excited about his find, Francois was humble.

“It’s what we do,” he said. “We go out there and look for this stuff. If we find it, we find it. If we don’t find it, we go out there next time and try again.”

Co. B, 1-15th Inf. Regt. is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and has been deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.